Monthly Archives: February 2013

The Frost Giant Is Five

WHEN WE FIRST got Loki, he was all white. Well, nearly all white. There were hints of his markings on the tips of his ears, his back, and in his tail. And then the ones around his face came in and it all got dark. But to start with, he was mostly a white cat.

He also had these little, delicate, girly paws. Most kittens have huge paws. They have to grow into them. And I get the impression (though it may be a folk myth) that the bigger a kitten’s paws, the bigger he/she is going to be as an adult. And he was the King of Getting Inta Shit. Still is, although less in a cute and mischievous way and more in a klutzy way. I tell him he needs to learn the difference between surfaces and objects. Surfaces usually stay stable under you, but objects will collapse under your weight — or slide out from under you in a cascade that ends you suddenly three or six feet below where you started, on your ass, trying to pretend that you meant to do that. So we named him after the Norse Trickster God, the Frost Giant, Loki.

Toni doesn’t really believe this, but I have noticed it from his first night in our house, and remarked (at least to myself) on myriad occasions over the years, that he has, every night, led me to the bedroom, talking to me, and jumped up on the bed and demanding a ritual petting before letting me drop off to sleep. Sometimes, he flops down on the floor in front of me, (sometimes tripping me up), sometimes he runs ahead and jumps up on the night stand (blocking my view of the clock, which — in a dark bedroom — is my only guide). But he always talks. He is also the only cat I can remember who responds to conversation directed at him — by name — with “words” of his own. He also seems to know that, in the evening, when I close the lid on my laptop, it’s getting close to bedtime, and will run over to me and start talking — speech which only accelerates when I dim the overhead lights and get up to go to the bedroom.

Not entirely a robust and vigorous cat, although he plays happily, both alone and with the other cats, and the vets can’t find anything specifically wrong with him, we just sense he’s not as strong as he could be. He may not be with us as long as some others. That said, it’s been wonderful having him here these past five years. Happy birthday, little guy. Many happy returns of the day.

Partial Core Dump

THIS IS ME doing my robber-bird number. Saw something bright and pretty and snatched it up and brought it home. Doesn’t matter I can’t use it right now. (Who has time.) I can see it feeding my ‘satiable curtsiosity in the future.

The roll below is stolen from a WordPress plugin done up by a project called Ancient World Linked Data.

Since I don’t blog nearly as much as I might like to about the Classical World, I suspect I wouldn’t get much use out of the plugin. However, the list of sites… Well. Talk about your wikiwanders.

Ancient World Linked Data for WordPress

Arachne (
Encyclopedia of Life (
Internet Archive (
Library of Congress (
Munzkabinett Berlin (
Nomisma (
Numismatics (
Open Context (
Papyri (
Pelagios (
Perseus (
Pleiades (
Portable Antiquities Scheme (
Sudoc (
Trismegistos (
Wikipedia (
Wikipedia FR (
Worldcat (
Yale Art Gallery (

So I just wanted to park this until I get a moment to put it someplace I can refer to it and explore it and amuse myself with it. Perhaps some of you might find it interesting, amusing, enlightening as well. If so, enjoy.

As I massaged the links and formatting, I found myself reminded that schola means “leisure” in Greek — because you can’t be a scholar if you have to grub in the dirt for your daily bread and that stoa was a porch, and the Stoics was just a bunch of dogs up on the porch who understood what it took to join the big dogs on the porch.

Or something like that.

The Fickle Bone of the Creative Mind

SO I’VE ALREADY STARTED the next novel in the Dolly Apocrypha. Those of you familiar with the story cycle are no doubt thinking, “That’s right. Double Switch.” But no. While Double Switch is in the rotation — on deck, even — it’s not at-bat just yet.

No, next up is Discovery in which I plug a massive plot hole in the whole story arc of the Apocrypha — where did the other dollies come from? We know fromGeppetto’s Log that they were purchased in September 1996 in Hong Kong by Witchlet, who was a Xenite from the word Go. She fell in love with Xena in the episodes of Hercules where Xena was introduced. As she explains to Jeep while they’re galivanting about in Tsing Yi city, she has told her former roommate — the Crown Princess of Faerie, Rowan Leaf — to tape all of the episodes for her as they appear on American television and to express them to her in Greece. She carries the dollies (action figures to mundanes) around Hong Kong in her backpack while Drummond’s Walkers… and then… Well, I could tell you the story, but then I’d be spoiling it for you, so you’ll have to wait.

But that’s where the dollies started. How their animae got into the dollies, and then transferred into clone bodies is the subject of many adventures in the first few volumes of the Dolly Canon. This book, which I am giving the working title Discovery focuses on learning — discovering, if you will — what happens to the dollies after their genesises — genessees. Whatever.

I hope that, within a month — maybe two — I’ll have another novel to be edited, a cover designed for, and to be published as “Book 2A of the Dolly Apocrypha — the first new novel in the series in fourteen years!”

Hey! It could happen. We’ll see.

And the just-finished novel, Report from New Xenaland, isn’t jealous or feeling abandoned at all. Nosiree. Not one bit.

How Many Times

MUST A LEGISLATOR COMMIT TREASON (in fact, if not in law) before he faces some consequences? When do We The People get to define the proposal and passage of unconstitutional acts as adhering to our nation’s enemies and giving them aid and comfort?

I get the sense that the answer surely isn’t blowing in the wind.

It. Is. Finished!

I SENT THE FINAL of A Report from New Xenaland to the Alpha reader at 11:30 Sunday night. 59,307 words. 53 Chapters. A full-length, ground-rules novel. And, when it’s published, my first. Yay me!

Verry Close

I KNOW I’VE BEEN SAYING FOR what seems like the longest that I was very close to the finish of Report from New Xenaland. But now, I really am. I’m through the climax. I’ve plugged plot holes. I’ve foreshadowed. I’m in the denouement and anticlimax. The days-end count stands at 58,132 — up from 53,115 this morning and 50K last Sunday night. I may bring this thing in under 60,000 words, it’s that close. I am not kidding when I seriously think I may be finished with this thing tomorrow. Alpha reader: stand by to receive!

Happy VD

Today’s Birthdays

IN WHAT IS FAST becoming a tradition all its ownself, I have once again let slide the preparation of a post wishing Dolly a Happy Birthday. By the ficton, she is 15 today, but in reality 14. And her official papers — finest kind real thing, boss — say she’s 42. You can believe that or not if you want to.

But, also born this date in the Casa d’Alger household are Chester and his sister Lady Jane Grey, whose namesake, we may recall, died in history just the other day. The cats are a year old. The human Lady Jane, somewhat older.

The Constitution: It’s Not Just a Good Idea;


People starting out today with, “Was watching the State of the Union show last night…”

Well! There’s your problem!

Didn’t watch it. If I want fiction, I want it written by competent practitioners, not somebody just trying to blow smoke up my ass. However, I could not escape the sound bites on the radio news the following morning.

The first was of the President saying, “I don’t care if your vote is “No”, these issues deserve a vote.” Actually, Sir, no. They. Don’t. The Law (Remember it?) says the right to keep and bear arms SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED. That says you don’t get a vote. The issues don’t get a vote. It’s not subject to a vote. If you want to change that, change the law. Amend the Constitution. What’s that? It wouldn’t pass? Isn’t that kind of the point? Of course it is.

You nitwit.

You don’t get to waive my rights.

The other was the laundry list of tired, old, lies used as a dodge to avoid decent scientific scrutiny in advance of turning society and the economy upside down to stop “climate change.” Which, since it’s been so thoroughly debunked — and by actual practitioners in the field, not politically motivated hack statisticians — should be every bit as much a dead letter as the 2nd Amendment. But these legacy partisans from that failed ideology keep trying to feed us these same, old, tired, yesterday’s news…

Lies. And, if the President will lie to you on a subject where you might not disagree, what exactly can you trust him on? How long until you figure out that the entire partisan structure on the left is lying to you, has been lying to you since the Founding, and will continue to lie to you until Kingdom Come — world without end. Amen? Hmm?

But that aside, here’s a clue to you: climate is change. So those witlings are arguing that we need stop change change.


Something Wonderful

A FRIEND OF MINE has a new photography site up. You should take a look at it. Kirk West Photography Cool stuff.

And, if AOL weren’t being such dicks and I could get in touch with him via eMail, I’d have a picture here, ’cause, being a righteous dude, he’d let me post a thumbnail to plug his site. But since they are (AOL, being dicks. Who’d ha’ thunk it?), and I’m not a better-to-beg-forgiveness kinda guy, it’ll have to wait.

Or, you could — like, you know — visit the site and see the neat pictures there.

Deaths this Day In History

1883 – Richard Wagner, German composer. And Valkyries carried him off to Valhalla. As they landed on the far side, Wagner was heard to exclaim, “Vat a rride!”

One of the Principles

OF THIS BLOG IS THAT I never wanted it to be simply a “Me, too!” blog. If somebody else was doing it, that was what I wanted to avoid. Sometimes that means I don’t have content. So be it.

A lot of people, including my favorite at this — Tanker at Mostly Cajun — do birthdays. But nobody I know of does death days.

And, really, I’m too lazy or easily distracted to keep up a regular feature. I know that. So if I took this up, it would be an irregular feature. But sometimes.

Died today in history — February 12.

1554: Lady Jane Grey – pretender to the throne of Britain or the rightful queen, depending on whom you listen to. Just as it can be lethal to get between Chuck Schumer and a microphone, it can be just as lethal to get between a Tudor and the throne.

1802: Immanuel Kant – the German philosopher. You can’t swing a Schrodinger’s cat without hitting one of them. And, of course, you STILL wouldn’t know if it were dead or alive.

Fifty-Two Thousand,

SIX HUNDRED, SIXTY-FOUR. 52,664. From 40,000 a week ago.

This Close

FROM 42K SATURDAY MORNING to as close to damn-all 50K as makes no never mind at bedtime is, if I do say so myself, damned good. (Actual count, 49,157.)

On the earlier post, Our Curmudgeon gave some good advice if you’re faced with what looks like an open-ended project with no hope of finishing: finish the damned thing! That is, write the end or whatever before you go any farther. Get it nailed down and then fill in the gaps in between.

Sort of like doing the edge and corner pieces of a jigsaw puzzle first. Sets the bounds. Establishes the frame of the whole.

I kind of slighted it in my response, essentially because that’s exactly what I was doing already. But that doesn’t stop it from being damned good advice. And my day’s progress today is evidence of it.

I had been working the end points for some time. Well, thirteen years, almost, in fact. What I had done was to take the ending of my first draft — the story “Report from New Xenaland” from the original Apocrypha — and plunked them down in the right places in the manuscript, then told Scrivener not to include them in the compile. Which meant, when I compiled for a word count, I didn’t get those fragments. And there was part of a buildup to the climax, bits and pieces of climactic scenes (which have all changed by now), as well as the pieces of the denouement I want to preserve and use in this draft.

So, once I’d made all the decisions on how things are to go together, and how I want to proceed going forward, I could simply click a tick box and have the wordage added to my total. The writing was already (nearly) done, you see.

Meanwhile, Sarah Hoyt has finished the novel she’s been writing online (well, she’s been posting her drafts practically as each bit is written, which seems eerily similar to how the Apocrypha first appeared in public. And she offers some advice to writers who may suffer the same debilitations she does.

It’s kinda funny to read her talking about letting a work sit for a couple of weeks so you can get some distance. I’ve been letting the Apocrypha sit since 1999. But still, and again, damned good advice. Read it and heed it.

I’m having trouble keeping my eyes open and my head up. Say, “Good night,” Gracie.

Good Night, Gracie.

Heh. Good night, Moon.


AND THE WEEKEND AHEAD to write. (Well, I have to do grocery shopping, and some other stuff.) I keep hoping I can finish today, tomorrow, this week. And the story grows longer as I add more words in hopes of reaching the end. And like some vicious cross between Tantalus and Sisyphus, I can never quite catch it as it fades from sight going away.

Oh, well. Maybe it’s like the fight between Good and Evil. Good never wins, it only has to survive to fight again tomorrow. Like the road, the fight goes on forever.

I Have a Different Take

FROM GLENN BECK on the possible real import of Leon Panetta’s testimony on Benghazi. Beck asserts that Panetta is trying to cover the President’s ass on something that has yet to drop. Me, I wonder if it isn’t a bunch of long-term pols standing away from the rookie who’s overstepped — all in aid of not getting any on them when he face plants in it.

Rats. Ship. Glug.

Hah! I Knew It! No Global Warming!

NOT THAT I BELIEVE IT FROM A SINGLE source without independent verification, but still. It should be noticed that the study referenced drew data from a far wider universe of specimens than the one which supposedly supports Michael Mann’s hockey stick graph. It also samples a far longer time scale and a wider geographic area.

But still… It’s only Scandinavia. It’s hard to accept a single set of indicators in a geographically limited area as illustrative of global trends.

But still again: countervailing.

Why the Government Wants Your Guns

AS TOLD BY A FORMER inhabitant of the people’s worker’s paradise of the late,great, unlamented Soviet Union. We really should listen more closely to these guys, these refugees from former communist states. They’ve lived already what we’re going to be seeing in the next however long. They can give us useful tips.

40 At Last

NO, NOT MY AGE. At nigh-on 59, I passed that milestone a ways back. No, this is 40,000 words, the “official” length for a novel. A Report from New Xenaland passed 40,000 words at about 11:25PM Saturday evening. Which, if you’ve been keeping track, means I wrote something like 3,000 words today in 3 scenes/chapters. Now, in order to finish, I have to write the climactic set piece and string together the denouement. And I almost feel that, if it weren’t for the climactic nature of it, I could skip the set piece and go right to the denouement. But that would disappoint the readers, I’d think. Been building up to this bit of action for the whole book, so I guess I’d better deliver.

Wish me luck.

Quote of the Millennium

Not to mince words, the former Nebraska senator is an uninformed nitwit.

Roger Simon

One could accurately apply the above statement to any member past, present, or future of the Senate by removing the phrase “former Nebraska” from it. In fact, it could be applied to any officeholder at any level of government — a fact said officeholders would be well advised to humbly heed as they go about their daily business.

Oh, and BTW, I thought I remember that Hagel had lied about his service in Vietnam? Is that no longer an operative fact?

People Against the Civil Right

TO KEEP AND BEAR ARMS, — that is, in favor of so-called gun control, which, we should point out until it sinks in, is a racist policy begun by Democrats and the KKK in the post-Civil War era to keep newly-freed black slaves from arming to defend themselves, their families, and their property from the predations of said Democrats and Ku Kluxers (BIRM), and therefor should more properly be just called control — pointed and laughed (however hollow their laughter) at the notion that school guards (faculty and staff) be armed as a first line of defense against mass murdering nut jobs who’ve selected a target-rich so-called “gun free” zone as a venue for their first-person-shooter fantasies.

Which doesn’t really stand too well against the rising tide of incidents such as this one being reported almost daily since Sandy Hook.

And, once again, the Left is proven wrong on the merits of their arguments and refuses to acknowledge it. Makes you wonder why they’re allowed out of the house.

Quote of da Doll

Lack Of Underwear Can Be A Sign Of Poverty, But I Think Of It As An Expression Of Poetry.

Alain Aslan

In recognition of Dolly’s preference to dress, as she calls it, “at liberty.” Go Dolly!